Printing with DIY and Found Textures! Lesson Plan


  • Students Will Be Able To (SWBAT) demonstrate an ability to turn found materials into art materials
  • SWBAT create prints with various found objects


  • Can students make artwork using found materials?


  • Gelli Arts® plate (example step by step uses 8×10 & 3×5 plates)
  • Brayer
  • Acrylic paint
  • White paper
  • Various found materials, examples being:
  • String, Thread, and Yarn, Rubber Bands, Credit Cards, Hotel Key Cards, etc., Plastic Wrap, Wax Paper, Cotton Swabs, Bottle Caps and Jar Lids, Disposable Cups, Straws, Pencil Erasers, Leaves and Botanicals, Feathers, Cheesecloth, Burlap, Sponges, Textured Fabrics, Textured Wallpaper (Anaglypta), Corrugated Cardboard. Toilet Paper Cardboard Rolls, Plastic Shelf Liner, Bubble Wrap, Doilies


There are so many ways to approach this interesting printing process. Look around and you’ll find all kinds of textures for printing! Use simple paper masks for building interesting layers! Imagine the possibilities!!

Here’s a process for working with your found textures to make prints like those demonstrated in the video — using the 8×10 and 3×5 inch Gelli® plates together! So look around for textures and get ready to make some unique prints!

Step 1: Apply two colors of acrylic paint to an 8×10 Gelli® plate and roll into a thin layer with a brayer. To create a gradient effect, apply each color to opposite sides of the plate. Roll out the lighter color on one half of the plate — then roll out the other color — meeting in the middle of the plate.

Step 2: Apply a textured item into the paint. Some textures can be pressed into the paint and removed (i.e. bubble wrap, wadded waxed paper, jar lids). Some textures (i.e. cheesecloth, leaves, string) are placed on the painted surface. Cover those with a piece of thin paper, such as deli paper — and press into the paint, outlining the objects with your fingers. Remove the cover paper (which are often beautiful prints!) then remove the textured item from the plate.

Step 3: Place several 3×5 inch index cards — as masks — on the painted gel plate.

Step 2: Cover with the printing paper — rub with hands to transfer the paint — and pull your print.

Step 5: Place the 3×5 Gelli® plate onto an acrylic stamping block or other clear mount.

Step 6: Apply acrylic paint to the 3×5 Gelli® plate and roll into a thin layer with a brayer.

Step 7: Follow the same process as Step 3.

Step 9: Stamp the small plate directly onto a masked area of the printed paper.

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